Here in Australia, there's been a flurry of media hype, and blogs, regarding the Schapelle Corby drug case, in Bali. Many Australians are convinced of Corby's innocence, and incensed at a guilty verdict, and harsh penalty, from an Indonesian justice system they deplore, or at the very least view with deep suspicion.
So extreme has been the reactions that calls for calm and considered thinking like Karen Wallace's blog today, may well fall on deaf ears!
One might fear that some of the more outrageous demands are prompting some Aussies to go on compassion by-pass, or worse, tapping into the shadow side of our culture -the racist side!
So what? What does Schapelle Corby have to do with nurturing relationships?
Very little really! However, what I've observed over the last few weeks, reminds me of some of the difficulties that we all have accepting each other.
It's very tempting when we're angry with someone, be it our partner, colleague, or the Indonesian government, to avoid letting all our peripheral or past judgments, come into the debate.
I call that kitchen-sinking! You ARE familiar with it! We've all done it sometime!
You know when you've been angry because there's insufficient funds to pay for the holiday or the phone bill. Then last year's little slip-up with an unplanned assault on the credit card magically appears in the conversation. Followed swiftly by a recollection of last month's indulgence on something "totally unnecessary"!
You know how it is! Throw in all the unresolved gripes and make it into a good old kitchen-sinking!!!!
How often does it happen in our workplaces or our homes that we abandon compassion and respect for others with whom we are in relationship?
To be able to effectively communicate, we need to bring respect and goodwill to the interaction. Without respect for our partner or colleague, it's very difficult to hear, let alone listen till we understand, a different perspective!
In an ideal global village, we'd have respect and unconditional acceptance of our fellow humans. Sadly, there are too many indications in our world, that we're missing that target badly.
If we think global and act local, we could start making a difference by CHOOSING to respect our partner/colleague and accept that their mistakes, just like our own, are not maliciously intended.
With that out of the equation, and respect for the person with whom we are debating an issue, we can avoid the temptation to throw in the kitchen sink and with it lose any chance of listening to understand and solve a problem!
Australians who volubly kitchen-sink Indonesia, will not help Schapelle Corby nor the mammoth numbers of victims of December 26th's disastrous Tsunami, all of whom could use all the help they can get, through their difficulties.